Twenty-three official James Bond films. I’ve been a fan of the 007 films since my college roommate encouraged me to join him at a James Bond Film Festival on campus. Seeing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in a very cold auditorium amplified the film’s snowy setting. The projectionist cranked the film’s sound after Bond’s wife Tracy is killed in the final moments. The counter-point of the James Bond theme over the film’s emotional ending was a sort of sneer to emotion and reminded us that Bond was an agent first. I fell in love with Bond music that night.
1. Goldfinger – “Goldfinger,” performed by Shirley Bassey. Written by John Barry (music) and Anthony Newley & Leslie Bricusse (lyrics). This was the film that perfected the 007 “formula.” Director Guy Hamilton was purported to have suggested the song “Mack the Knife” to John Barry, “a gritty and rough” song on which to model this film’s theme song. Shirley Bassey tops the list with her gutsy, machine gun delivery of the lyric, enunciating every word sharply. And what words would befit a villain’s theme better? For a golden girl knows when he's kissed her/ It's the kiss of death from Mister Goldfinger. At the 2013 Academy Awards, in tribute to 50 Years of James Bond Films, Dame Shirley Bassey performed the song to wide acclaim and a standing ovation.